As we all know grandparents provide a wealth of knowledge. I have wonderful memories of time spent with my grandmother. Living abroad she would visit every year or two and she always made sure she spent quality time with each of her grandchildren.
She would tell us stories of her past, listen to our dreams and goals and just give loads of cuddles and kisses. The unconditional love and support between a grandparent and grandchild provides a strong bond between the two generations. This is what I knew a grandparent to be.
Things have certainly changed since I was young. According to Victoria’s child safety commissioner’s report 46 per cent of children in out-of-home care are looked after by relatives – the majority are grandparents.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show there are 16,000 grandparent families in Australia and this is not counting the unregistered carers. Whether a sole carer of their grandchildren or just happy to be included in their lives grandparents help shape the future of a child.
Being a new school mum I see a lot of grandparents drop off and pick up their grandchildren to and from school but there is one grandmother in particular, Thecla who I have the pleasure of watching come to school every morning and every afternoon. At first I didn’t know which child she was there for – I had matched up all the children to parents but I soon introduced myself and asked politely why she came every day.
A simple response Ï want to be fully involved in my grandchildren’s lives” She was so genuine and I saw the love in her eyes when she spoke of all her grandchildren. I decided to sit down with Thecla and find out why she loves being a grandmother so much.
How many grandchildren do you have?
I have six grandchildren Tanisha seven, Thomas six, Zack five, Evangelina three, Jonah two and a half and Tia two.
What is the best thing about being a grandmother?
Watching all my grandchildren interact with each other. They are all so different in what they do with their own special talents, and each with their different personalities.
Why is it important for you to be involved in your grandchildren’s lives?
They are all so special to me and I don’t want to miss out on any of their special moments. Now that three of them are at school, it’s exciting when they come home with an award or a sticker for doing something special. It makes me feel so proud of them.
What do you do for fun with your grandchildren?
We play games together at home and at the park. They love to come to my house for visits and check everything out, including looking at photos or going into the garden. We enjoy reading books together and the older ones are starting to read to me, which is very to see at such a young age.
How do you stay so active and healthy?
I start by going for my daily 40 minute walk, which I enjoy. I do a jazz exercise class every Thursday with a wonderful group of friends, sharing many laughs along the way. Occasionally I attend a Tai Chi class in the park at Burleigh. I am kept busy with my grandchildren and enjoy it when I am asked to baby sit. I try and eat healthy foods, except for the kid’s birthday cakes of course!
What advice can you give other grandparents?
Get involved whenever you can. It is very important for the children to have their grandparents to be involved in their special moments. They grow up so fast and the time spent with them for me is priceless.
If your kids haven’t seen their grandmother or grandfather in a while, pick up the phone and call or go and visit, it’s important to make the most of their special time together.
Words Amardy Baucke
Originally published in Coast Kids